FSU Libraries’ new eTextbook program identifies currently available eBook titles assigned as required course materials. Instructors and students are able to search by course code, instructor, or book title to see if required course materials are available online through the Libraries. Since its implementation, this project has identified 848 total titles in Spring 2021 and 343 titles in Summer 2021 available through the Libraries’ existing licenses. In these two semesters, the total potential student savings is $1,941,369.
This initiative was inspired by ongoing student feedback about the high cost of course materials. The Libraries’ eTextbook program builds upon our currentCourse Reserves service and bolsters advocacy for the program as part of the broader Libraries’ Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative.
Here is a message of support from a student whose textbook was identified as currently licensed by the Libraries:
It’s well known that textbooks can be an onerous additional cost for those pursuing any degree, so it was a welcome and extremely helpful surprise when my professor announced that the library had added an electronic version of the course textbook. This happened two semesters in a row, and the savings across those semesters was close to $200 just for two classes. The ease of access is also a huge benefit that I was very grateful for.
FSU Libraries eResources expand the amount of materials available for higher-level coursework and complements other open educational resources. Furthermore, this program provides a crucial opportunity to support student success by ensuring equitable access to teaching and learning materials. Our eResources work to benefit our FSU community by…
20 out of 28 instructors from studies between 2015 and 2018reported that learning outcomes improved with open textbooks. FSU Alternative Textbook Grant recipient Vanessa Dennen, Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies, recently published results from her customized OER project in which students offered positive feedback because the OER were customized to meet their needs and received accurate, relevant, and focused learning materials. This OER and eTextbook integration in the classroom meets these same learning outcomes by providing students and instructors access to paid information that is covered by FSU Libraries.
…Ensuring an affordable FSU education for all students regardless of socioeconomic status.
A ground-breaking study from the University of Georgia found that drop, fail and withdrawal rates (DFW) decreased significantly for low income (Federal Pell Grant Recipients) and part-time students when Open Educational Resources (OER) were used in courses. There was a 53.12% increase in average course grade and a 29.54% decrease in DFW rates for students who were not enrolled full-time. The average final grades of self-identified non-white students in the study were higher with OER and their DFW rates were lower.
…Allowing instructors to incorporate perspectives that prepare students to live and work in a diverse and global society.
Open Educational Resources support a diverse community of learners including those with accessibility needs and multicultural perspectives and active student participation with materials. Sixty-four percent of faculty members in studies between 2015 and 2018 reported that using OER facilitated meeting diverse learners’ needs and sixty-eight percent perceived greater student satisfaction with the learning experience when using OER.
We look forward to growing our eTextbook program as part of our larger affordability initiative to reduce barriers to information access and reduce the cost of higher education.
The Alternative Textbook Grant program caters to main FSU campus instructors as it addresses the rising cost of college textbooks. This textbook affordability initiative by FSU Libraries will be awarding grants of $1,000 each over the 2020-21 academic year to instructors who adopt Open Educational Resources (OERs) or library-licensed materials to replace commercial textbooks. These grants support the university’s strategic goals to support overall student success and enhance diversity and inclusion.
Open textbooks go through the process of being written by experts, peer-reviewed and published under flexible copyright licenses for downloading purposes, distributed, and adapted for free. The grants can also be used to purchase eBooks for course textbooks that are purchased as a part of the FSU Libraries collection with unlimited user licenses.
Land Acknowledgement: Florida State University is located on land that is the ancestral and traditional territory of the Apalachee Nation, the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We pay respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to their descendants and to all Indigenous people. We recognize that this land remains scarred by the histories and ongoing legacies of colonial violence, dispossession, and removal. In spite of all of this and with tremendous resilience, these Indigenous nations have remained deeply connected to this territory, to their families, to their communities, and to their cultural ways of life. We recognize the ongoing relationships of care that these Indigenous Nations maintain with this land and we extend our gratitude as we live and work as respectful guests upon their territory. We encourage you to learn about and amplify the contemporary work of the Indigenous nations whose land you are on and to endeavor to support Indigenous sovereignty in all the ways that you can.
“DH Currents” is a blog series conceived in the summer of 2020 by the members of the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship at Florida State University Libraries. The goal of the series is to identify and highlight digital scholarship projects that take-up anti-racist and decolonial causes as part of their methodologies, content, and intentions. These initiatives foreground the principles of inclusion, truth telling, and dismantling the often oppressive practices of academic and cultural heritage preservation work. Each post will include a project description in addition to input gathered from its principal investigators, maintainers, and other participants. This series aspires to provide both a platform to share information about these scholars’ important contributions to the field of digital scholarship and to spark dialogue on topics related to ways academic libraries and other memory institutions can engage in this urgent, necessary labor.
Due to the shortage of readily-accessible personal protective equipment for first-responders and healthcare providers around the world, many involved in maker communities have responded by crowd-sourcing ways of rapidly manufacturing makeshift equipment to fill in the gaps while supply chains can respond. This is happening at the local level as well — Tallahassee’s local makerspace, MakingAwesome, and several departments at FSU began exploring ways of leveraging various rapid-manufacturing technology available on campus (such as 3D printers, desktop laser-cutters, and more) to answer this call. By the end of March, a partnership between the FSU Innovation Hub, FSU College of Medicine, High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Master Craftsman Studio, University Libraries, and MakingAwesome was formed, and The iHub began coordinating the donation materials such as sewn face masks and 3D-printed face shields at the beginning of April. This partnership was spearheaded by FSU College of Medicine faculty Dr. Emily Pritchard and iHub director Ken Baldauf.
By Grace Robbins, Office of Digital Research and Scholarship Intern, Fall 2019
During this semester I have been working as the Digital Cultural Heritage Intern in the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship. You might be wondering, what in the world is digital cultural heritage? It seems like a fancy title, but for what? Essentially the concept of digital cultural heritage is defined as preserving anything of cultural significance in a digital medium. Anything we preserve becomes part of a “heritage” to something, whether that be to an individual person or a whole culture. I was interested in working more with the intersection of digital humanities and archaeology after volunteering on the Cosa excavation in Italy directed by FSU. Archaeology is such a material driven, hands-on discipline (and science!), and it proves to be an effective tool to understanding–and interacting with–the past. However it generates so much data. Archaeologist Ethan Watrall writes, “The sheer volume and complexity of archaeological data is often difficult to communicate to non-archaeologists.” Furthermore, many discovered artifacts and architecture remain inaccessible to most of the general public. Thus, the goals in my internship revolved around understanding how digital platforms affect accessibility to these “heritages,” specifically in the contexts of archaeology and the humanities, so that scholarship is furthered for people in academia but also, hopefully, the general public.
I did most of my work with the Digital Cosa Project, which included uploading data from the Cosa hard drive onto DigiNole, FSU’s Digital Repository. My tasks confronted some organizational and technological challenges, however, as the large amount of data to be ingested meant rethinking the best way to organize the digital collection. We ended up switching plans from organizing by excavation year to organizing by type of file (artifacts, plans, maps, stratigraphic unit sheets, etc.). I also practiced coding, which most historians or archaeologists may not be familiar with. It begs the question, should these disciplines incorporate more digital education in the future? How useful would this be?
I also wanted to experiment with visual technology, including 3D applications such as 3D modeling and 3D printing.
3D model of a trench from 2019 excavation season being built in Meshroom, a free and open source photogrammetry program.
I especially enjoyed learning about 3D printing because it ran simultaneous to the FSU Archaeology Club’s “Printing the Past” exhibit in Dirac, which displays one important way digital humanities can further archaeological knowledge: hands-on learning! I couldn’t have learned about ancient Rome better than when I was unearthing ancient material on the dig and providing such artifacts in the form of 3D printing for non-archaeologists to interact with bears pedagogical significance.
Standing with the Cosa poster for the “Printing the Past” exhibit by the FSU Archaeology Club. I helped 3D model and 3D print the 3rd object from the left, an inscription found in the 2019 excavation season.
3D scanning was not as easy of a task, as new technology always comes with a learning curve, but in the future I want to continue working with this practice.
3D scanning the Napoleon Bonaparte death mask in Special Collections.
In my time at the internship, I have broken down my understanding of digital humanities from a broad concept to a web of applications that further humanities and archaeological knowledge. I will continue to work in the internship next semester, and I hope to continue mastering 3D modeling and printing and am looking forward to developments in the Digital Cosa project as we finalize our plans for the Cosa digital collection. Most importantly, I am eager to experiment with more creative ways these digital applications can be used in academia and the general public that will enable us to be more “in touch” with the past.
Open access is a global movement to freely publish research in online repositories and open publications instead of the costly subscription-based publishing models that have dominated the scholarly publishing industry for decades. Paywalled research is only available to those who can afford to pay subscription costs, leaving many researchers and institutions around the world unable to access critical findings in their fields. Open access allows research to reach a wider, global audience and leads to greater readership, citation, and innovation. Authors can publish their work openly by archiving accepted manuscripts in institutional repositories like DigiNole, publishing completed drafts on preprint servers, or submitting to open access journals.
Open Initiatives at FSU
In 2016, the FSU Faculty Senate adopted an Open Access Policy that grants the Libraries permission to archive scholarly works created by FSU faculty. The policy is intended to increase the availability of research developed at FSU to readers and scholars around the world. The Libraries use mediated deposits and automated harvesting workflows to populate DigiNole, our institutional repository. A three-year review found steady growth in repository deposits since the Open Access Policy was implemented. This trend continued in 2019 which saw over 2,000 objects added to DigiNole. Departments with 100 or more DigiNole uploads this year include the Department of Psychology, the Department of Biological Sciences, and the National High Magnetic Field Lab.
Scholarly Articles in DigiNole by Year
Another way the Libraries support open access includes the Open Access Fund which helps authors publish in open journals. Some open access journals require authors to pay article processing charges (APCs) to finance the technical work that goes into preparing, publishing, and preserving web publications. APCs can cost upwards of $2,000 for some publishers. To help authors mitigate this expense, the Open Access Fund provides awards of up to $1,500 for qualified proposals. In 2019, the Libraries funded 38 open access articles with funding support support from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, and the Office of the Provost.
Open access is not limited to research articles. Textbook costs have increased 82% since 2002 (nearly three times the rate of inflation), and textbook affordability for students is a growing concern nationwide.¹ Instructors are turning to open educational resources to reduce textbook costs. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 43% of students in Florida reported spending over $300 per semester on textbooks, and 64.2% of students were unable to purchase a textbook due to high costs.² Florida Virtual Campus hosted an Open Educational Resources Summit in the spring of 2018 where librarians and educators from across the state came together to discuss challenges and opportunities for implementing OER on their campuses. Mallary Rawls represented FSU Libraries at the Summit and reported on the event in a March blog post.
Instructors at FSU have been adopting open course materials and using resources from the Libraries to decrease textbook expenses for students. Dr. Vanessa Dennen in the Department of Education created an open textbook in 2018 and reported on student’s perceptions of the open materials in a recent issue of Online Learning. The Libraries published two open access textbooks this year in DigiNole to fill subject gaps in existing open materials.
Dr. Giray Ökten and Dr. Arash Fahim received Alternative Textbook Grant awards that helped transform their lecture notes into open mathematics textbooks. First Semester in Numerical Analysis with Julia and Financial Mathematics: Concepts and Computational Methods support subjects that are not well-covered by traditional textbooks in the field. The Alternative Textbook Grants have saved students $333,356 since 2016. Instructors can visit the Alternative Textbook Grants webpage for more information.
In addition to cost savings, open course materials have the added benefit of perpetual access. Unlike access codes and textbook rentals that are only available for a limited time, open materials are freely available online or through the library without access restrictions. With open online course materials, instructors can easily update textbooks with new material, and students can be assured they are accessing the most current version of the information. Open educational resources offer greater flexibility for instructors to customize their course content and increase textbook affordability for students.
Open access is critical for advancing the global knowledge commons and scientific innovation, and open educational resources promote student success by increasing the accessibility of course materials. The Libraries are proud of the progress we have made this year in furthering open access, and we look forward to continuing this important work in the future.
This post was authored by Suzanne Raybuck, Intern with the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship in the Fall of 2019. Suzanne recounts her experience working with Special Collections Materials and creating a digital publication interface to display it online. The final version is not yet live, but this post contains previews of the interface.
A Hercules emergency oil lantern from Operation Deep Freeze.
When I originally was brought on as the Digital Publication Intern for the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship, I had virtually no concept of what I would be doing in my new internship position. But, very early on I knew that I wanted to work with the Robert E. Hancock Jr. Collection at FSU Special Collections. The Hancock Jr. Collection is a collection that “contains materials regarding military operations in the Antarctic, primarily focusing on the Operation Deep Freeze II mission.” Based on that description, it’s a safe conclusion to assume it contains lots of important and scholarly documents and artifacts. However, it also contains various memorabilia from Robert E. Hancock Jr.’s time in Antarctica (including many, many, tiny penguin figurines, a drawing of Mickey Mouse shaking a penguin’s hand, model navy destroyer ships, lumps of coal, emergency lanterns, and military rations). This wonderful collection of artifacts is endlessly fascinating because it provides a series of vignettes of life at the South Pole in the form of really fun random objects.
A model of a wind-class ice breaker ship USCGC Southwind which participated in Operation Deep Freeze.
I found this collection while searching through Special Collections for a fun series of documents to use as guinea pigs for a new publication system we were testing. Essentially, I needed a bunch of documents in similar formats that we could transform into digital objects and then use to test out different publication tools. After spending maybe an hour with a variety of fun models and pictures, I found the Operation Deep Freeze Newsletters nestled into a box of other periodicals from Antarctica. The Newsletters were published by the army to send to the families of servicemen who were in Antarctica to let them know the news from the various bases. The Newsletters were mostly written by incredibly bored servicemen just trying to pass the time in their freezing posts. This boredom resulted in the inaugural newsletter detailing the long and involved process of how a band of grizzled soldiers tried to hatch live chicks from commercial eggs for the upcoming Easter Holiday. I had definitely found my guinea pig documents.
The original front page of Volume 1 Issue 1 of the Operation Deep Freeze Newsletter.
After finding the newsletters, I was tasked by our Digital Humanities Librarian, Sarah Stanley, with first encoding these newsletters in a data-rich .xml format called the Text Encoding Initiative, or TEI, and then figuring out how to publish them online. To accomplish this, we had to take into consideration three key factors: maintaining the format of the newsletters, good display functionality (e.g. tables of contents, hyperlinks, page view/scroll view), and how easy it would be to use. With these in mind, I started trying out different publication methods such as eXist-db’s TEI Publisher, which proved to be a challenging introduction into digital publishing.
eXist-db is an XML database tool that can be used to build web applications. We used the TEI Publisher package to create a digital collection that would use our TEI data format and present it in a clean and simple interface. The process of generating an application was intricate and required lots of specialized knowledge of both TEI files and their accompanying customization files. Additionally, we had no idea how the digital edition would look before we generated an application and viewed it, so if some small part of the display of the edition was off, we would have to delete the app, minimally adjust our code and generate a new app from the very beginning. Once we did get a finalized version generated, the overall look and feel of the page was exactly what we had hoped: very clean and easy to read. However, because we were using a program to generate the app for us, we had a very limited capacity to tweak the website interface and design or add our own custom parts to the whole thing. Ultimately, the the functionality of eXist-db did not quite meet our needs, and we tried to find a solution that would let us get a bit more hands-on with our edition.
A screencap of the eXist-db interface we created, its very clean and easy to navigate but at least four iterations of apps went into getting this particular layout.
Another possible publication tool didn’t arrive until the next semester, when I was working on publishing a collection of poetry translations online. Sarah pointed me towards a Jekyll (static website generator) template for minimal editions called “ed”. After looking at the examples, the display was again very clean and easy to interact with, so we decided to give it a shot. After deploying some quick test sites, we found that it was incredibly easy to work with and consistently generated beautifully designed websites that intuitively displayed our editions. It also had a built-in search function and annotation, which we were looking for in our poetry project. The only problem was we had to translate our TEI format into markdown, which caused us to lose huge amounts of metadata and information about textual styling that would be useful to other researchers. We made a judgement call and decided to keep looking for something that would preserve our format while giving us all the functionality and display options that we found with ed.
A screenshot of our test site for ed. Most of the sample texts we used were poems from Wilfred Owen, hence the name. Here you can see that the layout is slightly different since ed automatically creates larger title text. Unfortunately, we had to change all our TEI files to markdown, which got rid of most of our metadata.
A screenshot of what the first draft of our Pilot interface looks like. This page was automatically generated by the server file after reading a folder of TEI files, transforming them to HTML, and finally running them through three templates to get the desired display.
Though this project was long and frustrating, it ended up teaching me one of the most important points of digital publishing: digital representation of texts adds to the work, rather than merely representing it. Digital publishing is at a unique intersection where we have to negotiate the appearance of the facsimile, the functionality the editors want, and the demands of a digital medium. With all of these competing agendas, it’s hard to remember that a digital edition is a creative opportunity. With the vast array of tools offered by the web, developers can take advantage of things like interactive elements, user input, and different types of media to create editions that can only exist in digital spaces. In a way, digital editions represent a new kind of edition that acts more like an archive; where researchers can explore a digital space to find artifacts that are curated through organization and interface.
We plan for our iteration of the Newsletters in Pilot to allow for full-text searching, public annotation, different readings, and interactive displays. With these new features, we hope that the Newsletters will be read and understood in entirely different ways than their paper counterparts, and allow readers to interact with such an engaging yet little known collection.
¹ As an homage to CETEIcean (a pun on “cetacean,” which means “of or relating to whales”), we decided to keep with the whale theme and name our project after the pilot whale.
The UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage marks an occasion for libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions around the world to join together in celebrating the vital expressions of cultural identity and historical significance found in their film and audiovisual collections. As part of this annual day of recognition and advocacy, FSU Libraries will join an international cohort of institutions in showcasing its rich and unique materials with a pop-up exhibit on the Main Floor of Strozier Library on Thursday, October 24th.
Running from 10am – 4pm, this interactive exhibit will feature a variety of legacy audiovisual formats and technology culled from Special Collections & Archives and Technology & Digital Scholarship. The exhibit will also include a looping video installation featuring films preserved by FSU Libraries–films chronicling important campus events like The Great Westcott Fire of 1969, moments of familial bliss and beauty as found in the Means Family Collection, and great triumphs of FSU football, Flying High Circus, and the Tarpon Club Synchronized Swimming Team. Preservation Librarian, Hannah Davis, and Resident Media Librarian, Dave Rodriguez, will be on-hand to chat with patrons and answer questions about FSU’s unique collections, preservation efforts, and the challenges and complexities inherent to the stewardship of these materials.
We hope to see you there and look forward to sharing our amazing collections with you!
In addition to these valuable, paid resources, there are a number of open video collections containing narrative, documentary, ethnographic, and historically significant moving-image resources that can and should be utilized by those working in higher education and promoted by the Library. Below is a list with links and collection highlights from five such collections.
More information on how to access audio-visual content can be found in the Film LibGuide. Direct any questions about these or other online media resources to Shelly Schmucker, Electronic Resources Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Dave Rodriguez, Resident/Media Librarian (email@example.com).
Search Note: Unfortunately, this site lacks an internal search feature. However, you can effectively search the collection via Google by using the following search command: site:http://publicdomainmovie.net/ “insert movie title or other search criteria between quotation marks”
An initiative by LoC to make its moving-image collections accessible for streaming and download. Wide variety of titles ranging from silent films by Thomas Edison and D.W. Griffith to feature films and shorts from the 1940s and 50s
An old standard at this point but full of great material for those willing to do some digging.
The Prelinger Collection – Perhaps the the world’s most comprehensive collection of educational, ephemeral, propaganda, and industrial films ever assembled. A crucial repository for studying the culture of the 20th century.
The State’s extensive catalog of moving-image materials offers a vivid snapshot of Florida’s history.
The Adventures of X-14(ca. 1963) – A promotional tourist film produced by the FL Development Commission and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce about an alien visitor (disguised as a kitten!) to Florida’s Gulf Coast
Julio 26(1960) – A TV documentary produced by a local Miami news channel chronicling the first six months and 26 days of Fidel Castro’s leadership in Cuba.
FSU Libraries are currently taking applications for new Alternative Textbook Grants. These grants support FSU instructors in replacing commercial textbooks with open alternatives that are available to students at no cost. Open textbooks are written by experts and peer-reviewed, just like commercial textbooks, but are published under open copyright licenses so that they can be downloaded, distributed, and adapted for free.
“These grants encourage faculty to relieve some of the financial burden on their students, advancing the University’s strategic goal of ensuring an affordable education for all students regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Gale Etschmaier, Dean of University Libraries. “Grant programs of this kind are having a big impact at elite institutions across the country, collectively saving students millions in textbook costs each year.”
The cost of college textbooks has risen 300% since 1978, with a 90% cost increase over the last decade alone. Due to high costs, many students decide not to purchase textbooks, a decision which is proven to negatively impact student success. In a recent survey conducted by the Libraries, 72% of FSU students (n = 350) reported having not purchased a required textbook due to high cost. Instructors who participated in previous rounds of the Alternative Textbook Grants program are expected to save FSU students up to $270,000 by Summer 2019.
During the 2018-19 academic year, ten grants of $1,000 each will be available to FSU instructors who are interested in replacing commercial course materials with open textbooks, library-licensed electronic books or journal articles, or other zero-cost educational resources. Thanks to a partnership with International Programs, an additional ten grants of $1000 will be available for faculty who teach at FSU’s international study centers.
Interested instructors are encouraged to review the grant requirements and submit an online application form by the following dates:
October 1st, 2018 (for spring and summer on-campus courses)
November 1st, 2018 (for courses taught at our international study centers)
February 1st, 2019 (for summer and fall courses)
Successful applicants will receive training and consultations to assist them in implementing their alternative textbook. For more information, and to apply for a grant, please visit lib.fsu.edu/alttextbooks or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florida State University Libraries’ mission is to drive academic excellence and success by fostering engagement through extensive collections, dynamic information resources, transformative collaborations, innovative services and supportive environments for FSU and the broader scholarly community.